Ellen bleedin' MacArthur! I'm sorry...
Ellen bleedin? MacArthur! I?m sorry… I?ve been waiting to say that for some time. And I apologise for giving her a middle name I?m sure her parents don?t recognise, but I feel quite strongly about this.
Allow me to elucidate. The Schroders London International Boat Show is to be opened by no less a boating celebrity than Ellen MacArthur. Except that she won?t actually be there because she?ll be doing stuff with her new boat down in Australia. So she?s going to open the boat show via a satellite link in conjunction with assorted Olympic sailing bods. Quite right too, you might say. She is, after all, a superstar. Her efforts in the Vendée Globe a couple of years back, along with a record-breaking trans-Atlantic crossing in the Route du Rhum last year, have made her a household name in this country and all over the world. She is rightly acclaimed by one and all as being the epitome of British bulldog spirit, an example to us all.
So why not have Ellen open the boat show? Well, apart from the fact that she?s done it before, there?s the small matter of another person who ought to have been considered. He?s British, he?s a boat racer, and he?s just clinched his fifth World Championship. Yes, he?s Steve Curtis, and he?s not just any old World Champion either: he?s World Champion in Class 1 Offshore, the fastest and most impressive series in powerboat racing ? the sport?s blue-riband event. Five times!
The bloke should have been at Buckingham Palace collecting his OBE along with David Beckham. He should be mentioned in the same breath as Steve Redgrave and Jonny Wilkinson. He should be fêted as a hero. But sadly he?s barely known outside powerboat racing circles, and that?s why he wasn?t asked to open the London Boat Show. For the organisers, the important thing is to get airtime for the show on TV
and column inches in newspapers. Ellen MacArthur can deliver that in a way Steve Curtis cannot. It?s a shame, because the man is a hero, a legend, a winner. He deserves to be a household name and he deserves to be acknowledged by the marine industry as arguably the greatest powerboat racer of all time.
So we?ll do it instead: Steve, we salute you!